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A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Digital Marketing: SEO

A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Digital Marketing: SEO
November 22, 2022

To succeed as a small business owner, marketing is essential. Properly executing a marketing strategy means promoting your goods and services in a persuading way to the appropriate target market. That’s where digital marketing comes in.

Although it may sound straightforward, the term “digital marketing” actually refers to all aspects of your online marketing strategy. In order to develop a master plan that works you must comprehend every one of these aspects. One of the primary aspects of digital marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). 

You may increase the quantity of organic (or free) traffic to your website by optimizing it to "rank" higher in search engine results pages. Websites, blogs, and infographics are some of the mediums that SEO benefits.

The three pillars of digital marketing are SEO, Content Marketing and Paid Media.

In this edition of The Driver’s Manual, we will concentrate on SEO, and our Director of Digital Marketing, Alessandro Baldocchi, will answer two of the most asked questions from small business owners - “How do you start ranking your business's new website in Google searches?” and “How do you get your brand name out into the digital world?”

How do you start ranking your business's new website in Google searches?

The first step to start ranking your business's new website in Google searches and to get your brand name out into the digital world is to decide on your keywords. So SEO is really all based on the keywords or key phrases that you want to show up when people search for them. 

Keyword Research

Here is the exact process we are using at Driven for our keyword research. We divided the keyword research into 5 main steps.

Step ONE: Audience Research

You need to understand “who is your target audience”. Once you know your audience, you need to brainstorm a list of terms, phrases, and specific topics that you think people are searching for.

Step TWO: Keyword Suggestions

It is important to use multiple resources and the reason is that a lot of the tools have only one type of data in them and instead you want to combine them.  Google Ads Keyword Planner, for example, hides a lot of stuff that it feels is not going to convert from a PPC point of view. That’s why it is important to complement Google Ads Keyword Planner with other sources, so you can diversify the keyword suggestions. 

For this task we are using the following tools:

Step THREE – Select Keywords that Match the Three Main Types of Search Intent

The next step is to pick which keywords from these suggestion lists we are actually going to try targeting.

The goal is to match multiple types of search or intent based on content and keyword goals.  I divided the keywords in three different lists:

  • List of keywords that target people early in the buying stage – so the focus is not conversion but rather awareness and interest. 
  • List of keywords with a focus on direct conversion.

Step FOUR - Collect Keyword Metrics and Prioritize Them Based on Potential

For this task we create an initial document with the following columns:

Keyword - Here is where you put your list of keywords.

Volume – Volume ranges show you how often a term or phrase is searched for in Google each month. 

Difficulty – A score from 0 (low) to 100 (high) that estimates how difficult it is for you to rank higher than current competitors on the first page of search results. A tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush shows you exactly how competitive each phrase is. And even colour codes them from green being the easiest to red being the hardest. 

Potential – This is the most important indicator. Higher potential represents a sweet spot of higher volume and opportunity with lower difficulty. With Ahrefs you can filter out keywords that have enough volume and lower difficulty.

Business Value – How valuable is that keyword to the business if we get high ranking, this field will require brainstorming with team

When you've got your keywords, it's time to create a long form page or post for each phrase. This could be a combination of phrases with sales intent (for which you'd want to create a sales or service page) and phrases with research intent (for which an in-depth article or blog post would make more sense). 

The key to creating content that ranks well is to ensure that it is comprehensive and answers the searcher's question completely. This can be a challenge, especially if you are targeting multiple keywords with different intent, but it is essential if you want your content to rank well in search engines.

One way to approach this is to create a "master" piece of content that covers all the bases, and then break it down into smaller pieces that target each keyword phrase individually. This ensures that each piece of content is highly relevant to the searcher's query, and also makes it easier to target different keywords with different levels of intent.

No matter what approach you take, the goal is always the same: to create the most comprehensive and relevant piece of content possible. By doing so, you'll be well on your way to ranking well in search engines and driving traffic to your website.

Depending on your level of competition, you'll want to write these pages to be at least 1500 words, but quite possibly up to 3000 words if you're up against some really tough competitors. 

Google recently rolled out the Helpful Content Update (HCU) that helps ensure that your content is as helpful as possible. This update makes it easier for you to find and use information from websites, by making it more visible in search results.

The HCU also helps you to keep your content up-to-date, so that it can be more useful for people who are looking for information on the web. To do this, the HCU uses a number of factors to determine how often your content is updated, and how useful it is likely to be.

If you want to make sure that your content appears in the HCU, there are a few things you can do:

  • Keep your content fresh - update your content regularly, so that it remains relevant and useful for people who are searching for information on the web now and in the future.
  • Make your content easy to find - use keyword-rich titles and descriptions, so that your content is more likely to appear in search results.
  • Use helpful formatting - break your content up into short, easy-to-read paragraphs, and use headings and lists to make it easier to scan.
  • Promote your content - share your content on social media, and encourage people to link to it from their own websites.

The HCU is just one of many updates that Google makes to its search algorithm, so there's no need to panic if your content doesn't immediately appear in the HCU. However, following these tips will help to ensure that your content is as visible and useful as possible in search results.

To help with all this you can use an AI software like Jasper or SEMrush SEO writing assistant which is a really convenient WordPress add-on that can analyse all your pages and posts against your desired keyword phrases to see how you're doing and what needs improvement. 

And of course, within this long form content, you need to include your keyword phrase in some important places, including in the page, title and URL. 

You can also upload a video to YouTube and name it with your keyword phrase, and then embed that on the page as well. Because Google owns YouTube, and by creating more of a multimedia experience on your webpages, complete with your keyword phrase in the title and description of your video, you're creating a really synergistic experience that Google tends to reward.

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